If you’ve noticed anything about businesses during this pandemic, it’s that they have been fighting to do what they have always done: do business. No matter what that has looked like during 2020 and 2021, businesses continue to pivot and press forward with the cards they have been dealt. However, no matter how resilient these businesses have been, the fluctuating news about how the virus impacts in-person gatherings has taken a toll on everyone in the trade show world who relies on these events for their businesses to grow. Is it safe? Isn’t it safe? Are certain venues or host locations safer than others? Will my customers attend?
While there are a handful of trade shows that are still being rescheduled, other venues and event organizers are holding to their word on providing a clean and safe environment and are keeping their doors open. This has meant requiring more stringent healthcare policies such as mandatory masks and vaccination requirements to be able to do so at most shows. It has been a very wavering path, which is an unfortunate thing for those who spend months planning, only to have the option to take part in their event taken away.
While we are all flooded with constant updates about the spread of COVID-19, there is new data that reveals that in-person events are actually extremely safe, and it could be enough to help keep trade shows moving forward and on track. In fact they are even safer than many daily activities, according to an article from TSNN. With businesses finding it critical to continue doing business through networking in-person, they’re abiding by the necessary safety steps if it means that it will allow them to continue with their trade show marketing activities.
According to TSNN, Epistemix, a computational modeling software company, has shared the following data to show that business events do not lead to increases in local COVID-19 cases: “We recognize the current rise in Delta variant cases has led some event organizers and exhibitors to consider cancellations,” said John Cordier, CEO and co-founder of Epistemix. “Our modeling and data can help show organizers and public health officials replace that uncertainty with confidence to plan safe events.”
Following are key findings of the research:
- Risks of COVID-19 infection at events were as much as eight times less than the metro area where they were being held. For recent August  events, the infection rates were as much as 95 percent lower than the U.S. at large.
- In-person business event participants are more likely to be vaccinated, reflecting a vaccination rate above 80 percent and creating vaccination coverage that drastically cuts transmission of COVID-19 at those events, regardless of the gathering size.
- Despite some concerns over the Delta variant, the majority of attendees and exhibitors want to return to in-person events, and more than 90 percent are not opposed to additional health and safety protocols to enable them to gather safely. Further, those who do not support additional protocols say they instead choose to stay home, mitigating any added risks of potential infections.”
This information is a great step forward in the trade show industry to getting back on track and staying on track.
With the U.S. travel association taking great measures to help people return to their lives both personally and professionally, and with venue cleanliness being at an all-time high, there’s no reason why trade shows can’t successfully take place with all other essential (and non-essential) daily events and occurrences.
We’ve seen new health protocols taking place at nearly every event venue. Beyond the additions of HEPA filtration systems, hand sanitizer stations, mask requirements, spacing requirements, and increased disinfecting habits, new technologies have also been implemented to help make trade shows safer than ever. These new technologies include non-intrusive temperature scanning as the first line of prevention, visual display signage to help maintain distancing, Bluetooth technology to level out guest arrival times and entry locations to prevent crowding, and more.
With this new data from Epistremix that proves trade shows are less risky than essential daily activities, it’s promising news for the trade show industry, and we’re excited to continue moving forward!